This post is not to introduce something new and revolutionary to the food world. But because until recently I had never tried Maldon salt, I have to assume many of you have never tried it.
Maldon salt is harvested from the sea in Essex, England, and its fluffy, pyramid-shaped crystals have the most pure, clean saltiness you’ve ever tasted. It elevates the flavors of everything it touches. I like it sprinkled on steamed vegetables, which i don’t normally find all that exciting.
Here are some photos of Essex, England. Ready to book your flight?
I could keep going but this blog is not about travel porn. (Though maybe it should be.)
The Maldon salt website has a lot of resources and information about salt. Including a movie, which starts out like a dull educational video but if you hang with it there’s some pretty cool footage of the actual salt production. Their blog is even better, with recipes that spotlight their product and some videos with chefs. These roast potatoes sound wonderful.
Maldon salt took these green beans to a new level. Perfect for this time of year when everyone is trying to eat more vegetables.
And for dessert…
Maldon Salted Caramel Brownies
I also tried my hand at the ever popular Salted Caramel Brownies. (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but salted caramel practically has it’s own fan club.) My go to brownie recipe is Mark Bittman’s Basic Brownies. But since my salted caramel brownie process basically consists of pouring caramel sauce over already baked brownies, I say use whatever brownie recipe you like. Bittman’s recipe yields brownies with a rich, moist texture. Go for some nice dark chocolate, you won’t regret it.
Since I didn’t have enough butter to make a butter-based caramel, I tried this milk-based recipe for DIY Caramel Sauce by the Bright Eyed Baker. I found the recipe to be very well written and easy to follow, and the process feels like a really cool science experiment. I didn’t even need a candy thermometer.
Definitely allow yourself plenty of time for this caramel, and don’t get involved in something that could distract you from it. The last thing you want is a pot full of blackened sugar.
Here’s the recipe from Bright Eyed Baker as told by me. I haven’t changed it, just added my own notes.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/4 cups milk (two percent or whole)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Maldon salt for sprinkling
- You’ll need a large, heavy-bottomed pot. I used a dutch oven. Make sure its sides are tall; it needs to contain wildly bubbling caramel. Pour the sugar in the pot, then put it on medium-low heat. Shake the pot a little so that the sugar is evenly distributed over the bottom. Now set a timer for eight minutes. For the next eight minutes it will look like nothing is happening.
- When the timer goes off, set it again for another eight minutes. While the sugar does its thing, heat the milk. I put mine in the microwave for one minute and 30 seconds. Prepare a spot to sit the pot when you take it off the heat. (By the way, did you know sugar doesn’t melt?)
- Toward the end of the eight minutes, the sugar will start to darken in spots. Mine took more like ten minutes get to this point, but yours could be different. Watch the pot during this time. The dark spots will spread, and gradually liquify. When you see liquid sugar, use a heatproof spatula to scoop the liquid sugar over the granulated sugar. You just want to keep it from burning while the rest of the sugar catches up. It takes a while, but eventually, you’ll have a pot of liquid sugar. Keep cooking it and stirring it until you get the desired color. It’s tough to describe what you’re looking for, because I always use “caramel colored” to describe things of this color. But it’s a rusty, golden, caramel brown. How’s that?
- Once you’re satisfied with the color, take the pot off the heat. (At this point you may want to put an oven mitt on your stirring hand.) While stirring constantly, pour half of the hot milk into the liquid sugar. Keep stirring. The sugar will bubble violently, and probably seize up, hardening with the temperature change. But that’s okay. Pour in the last half of the milk and put the pot back on the heat.
- Stir the mixture constantly. I used my spatula to press the lumps of hardened sugar into the bottom of the pan, to speed up the dissolving. This step felt like a long time, but probably because I was worried they wouldn’t dissolve. But no need to worry: of course they will dissolve.
- Once everything is liquified again, add the sea salt and stir it to incorporate. You can take the pot off the burner, or keep stirring a little longer for a thicker sauce. I kept stirring for a few more minutes until it thickened up a bit. Just keep in mind that as it cools it will thicken a bit more.
- This recipe made exactly one cup of caramel sauce. I poured it over a still-warm pan of brownies, and crumbled Maldon salt on top. They were a huge hit.
It’s dreary outside but that doesn’t mean what’s on your plate has to be. Thanks for reading!